By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, April 11 (IANS) Anupam Kher is jubilant that Anna Hazare won his fight to bring the government around to his views on stringent anti-graft legislation.
"This is the greatest victory for Indian democracy since independence," said Kher joyously.
"But this is just the beginning. I am ready to carry on the fight as one of Anna Saab's soldiers even if it requires me to cancel my other commitments."
Last week Anupam Kher was shooting in Pune for a Marathi film when he suddenly announced he had to leave for Delhi. Everyone at the shooting thought there was a family emergency.
On an impulse he decided to go to Delhi to join Anna Hazare for his fast-unto-death at the Jantar Mantar.
Kher cancelled all his other engagements for Anna Hazare. He said he felt the cause to save the nation was far more important than his own personal activities.
"Screen pe leader aur neta bahut ban ke dekh liya. I wanted to feel alive by being close to a real crusader. Anna Hazare is a god-sent saviour," the actor says emotionally.
"The only time I felt so close to divinity was when I met Mother Teresa."
At the Delhi protest venue, Kher brought the house down with his rendition of the Mukesh anthem "Kissiki muskurahaton pe ho nissar...Jeena ussi ka naam hai".
The shooting of the film in Pune had to be cancelled to accommodate his airdash to be near Anna Hazare in Delhi.
"And quite happily so. My director and the entire team were with me on this," said Kher.
"I think we need to stop thinking about our narrow interests, about our own disrupted schedules and crashed Blackberrys when the whole nation's rhythm has been disrupted and crashed by corrupt practices."
Prominent members of his own fraternity are now busy accusing Anupam Kher of joining Anna Hazare for publicity.
"I couldn't be bothered any less by such accusations. People who talk with such shameless cynicism are the fence-sitters. Kuch karenge nahin aur doosron ko karne nahin denge (They won't do it themselves, nor will they let others do). If I have a face and a name I'd like to use them to improve the quality of our lives.
"For a long time my conscience kept troubling me about the rampant corruption in our country. When I saw the passion that Anna Hazare evoked I simply rushed to his side on an impulse. People can make what they like of my gesture. I will continue to be seen by Anna Hazare's side. I'd rather be there fighting to save our country than sit at home tweeting about Anna Hazare's wonderful crusade," the actor said.
He left for Pune Sunday with security provided by the government to shoot for Pramod Gajanan Joshi's Hindi-Marathi bi-lingual "Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein."
There was round-the-clock security at his home as well.
His home came under attack and the actor himself faced a privilege motion in the Maharashtra assembly over his alleged comments about the Indian constitution.
"I am not the least worried about myself. I am going about my work as per schedule. But my old parents who don't live with me in Mumbai and my close friends who are not from the film industry are concerned. That bothers me. I don't want my near and dear ones to lose sleep over me," Kher said.